Drone Preflight Checklist

Hello Friends,

I was looking for a pre-flight checklist for my drone, a simple checklist to survey my drone’s systems prior to an inspection flight.
(I utilize a DJI Phantom 3 standard for inspecting roofs for my inspections, for me, it works great.)
So i made a simple and thorough preflight checklist i go through for every flight. IT forces me to take my time (even though it only takes a few minutes MAX) and observe my drone. It is a very expensive tool and i am constantly learning about it and its capabilities, so taking a few minutes to ensure my drone, tablet, flight area is secure and ready for flight.
please change it up and make it your own, i hope its found to be useful.
Thanks! Im into my 1st year as an inspector, and I am really enjoying it.
~Michael Smith

drone-pre-flight-checklist.pdf (226.7 KB)


Good job Micheal :+1::+1: appreciate it!

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That’s pretty cool. Do you use the drone on all roofs or just the hard to walk ones? Does having a drone help with marketing?

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Hi Brett, Thank you for the reply.
I’ll preface this by saying that anyway you accomplish your roof inspection, that safely works for you, is a good way. This is the best way i’ve found.
I use this for every single roof, i keep my feet on the ground.
The drone allows me to SAFELY view 100% of the roof, chimney, gutters, all venting from 360 degrees, plus saves me a video of the whole inspection (using software allows me to take a snapshot at any time during the video playback and zoom in to show issues).
It takes about 20mins to set up, without rushing. but the actual inspection takes 5 minutes maybe 10?
You need a UAV (unmanned aircraft ) license from the FAA. costs $160 and have to take a test in person, there is a youtube video series you can watch to study. The test isnt hard.
Having a drone also allows you another line item upsell on your services - aerial photography, real estate agents LOVE these for their homes.
Plus we are a creative bunch we can think of lots of ways to make money with a flying camera =)

Also they are ALOT of fun!

Please let me know if you have any other questions - i have some more drone docs on my site i loaded up for home inspectors )


Michael Smith

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Thank you!!

That’s great Michael. It’s always good when you can enjoy your work a little more. I know it’s just one of the tools but I can see it helping you stand out.

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Many of our HVAC units are on the roof. Are you able to get the data plate info? Do you inspect the HVAC with the drone when they are on the roof?

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I need to move in that direction, where did you purchase the drone, how much, how long did you take you to learn to fly it, does it have home return and is there anything in particular to be aware of? Who has the best prices?


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One way thing i do to advertise is to quickly explain the safety of it and that i can give them aerial photos of the house. They dont get to request any angles, but i end up with about 80 pics and a few minutes of video the client usually sees as a nice freebie.

Hi Mark, Thanks for the question.
Are you speaking of Commercial properties?
With those, the roofs typically have nice accessible roof access ladders. If you are lucky they are mounted on the inside, but even outside, is not bad at all. I climb the ladder and inspect the rooftop units, they have to be accessible for maintenance so you know you have a safe route to the units,

For my inspections, the drone is utilized typically for residential properties, however, i am going to do a flyover regardless and present those pictures to the client as well.
Hope this helps!

Michael Smith

Hi Ronald,

So yeah, its overwhelming. to Elminate having to buy and rebuy “Cheap” Drones, i bought the most respectable name, in my opinion, i could find. Which is DJI
Then i determined what i would need FROM the drone. Hi Res Photos and video i can zoom in on and easy to use. I dont need a racing drone, or even the newest model.
Through many many weeks of research i determined the PHANTOM model was the best for my needs. Its built for work. The model 4 is out now, i got the Phantom 3 Standard.
I found a Package that included 3 batteries and a nice controller. (depending on what you get, the controller could be just your cell phone, for this it is a nice size controller with 2 joysticks and other buttons with a tablet mount.
This model of drone recommends an ipad, everyone recommends an ipad, but i got a samsung TAB A and it works wonderfully at a 1/3 the price.
Batteries last about 25 mins of flight so you need to have a few ready to go. they cost about 70 bucks each. I have 4 and that plenty for a nice day of fun shooting. rarely does an inspection require me to change batteries. But better to always be prepared.
You also need a case.
I got these accessories to enable a better a safer flight
propeller guards
signal booster
landing pad
tablet sunblocker

IT took me a few weeks to get comfortable but i still am wary when i fly. I am very capable but also respectful of my $1500 investment flying around (with everything i got that about what i have in it)
Also need insurance.

But its a great tool and an awesome hobby, They are just going to get easier to fly and cheaper to buy, better to embrace it now )

Michael Smith

Thanks Mike, I really appreciate your response. After reading your post, i went and did a little research on it. Thank you for taking the lead as it helped me to move in a direction that I was thinking of. I was able to go ahead and make the purchase for less that $500.00 as the new models you spoke of has come out and I got the last one in stock that is brand new. I will definitely get the accessories.

Thanks again my friend and continued good luck

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My pleasure! Glad to be of assistance.
I try to get out at least once a week to fly and hone my skills.
Best of luck to you as well Sir

Hi Michael,

For your preflight, after you have attached the propellers, and before you insert the battery or power it on, rotate the props by hand. Feel for identical resistance between the motors. There may be a very slight difference, but make note of what is normal.

After your flight, take a quick reading of the motor heat with your thermal imager, or your IR thermometer. Elevated heat that stands out in just one motor is a sign that it’s pulling more current than the others. This could be a binding motor shaft, faulty ESC, bad bearings…

Stiff movement and heat will help you identify a problem before the drone comes down and experiences a rapid and unscheduled disassembly of itself and private property.

I always do the se checks. Also, I let it sit on the ground for a minute after the motors have started. I watch and listen to the idling.

Oh, I don’t remember if it was in your checklist (very nice, by the way), but check the props for deformation, chips in the leading edges, and undue scratches.

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Hi Randy,

Thank you very much for the response and the additions! Really great stuff, and incredibly simple too.
“Unscheduled disassembly” I love that. hahahaha

Thanks Again Randy, i will update it and repost in a week or so. Lots going on ATM.